It generally goes: the bigger a festival gets, the worse it becomes; but not so with Kendal Mountain Festival 2016. Here we share our favourite moments of this year's premier festival for outdoor enthusiasts.
Our one complaint would be that, in fact, there was almost too much to do at Kendal this year: there was so many awesome events on offer you’d need to be in two places at once to see absolutely everything. First world problems and let's be honest, not a bad thing to be face with at all. So what was at Kendal 2016?
200 separate events over the four days of the festival, which included more than 125 film screenings, inspirational talks from epic adventurers, and live-action shenanigans. Saturday was the busiest day of all, with around 20% more people turning up than last year to get involved in all the action.
But despite having to miss out on some, what we did see was still totally brilliant. So what were our highlights this year?
Our Kendal highlights
Hard Rock, the first of the BMC TV films to premiere at Kendal, was greatly received by all, and was Sir Chris Bonington’s pick of the festival. Celebrating the life of the late Ken Wilson, this simple story paid tribute to one of the most influential voices of British climbing by interspersing unseen interview footage of Ken with clips of the classic lines that make up his much-loved book, Hard Rock.
We showed the film twice in the Basecamp to a welcoming audience and once during BMC TV’s excitingly off-the-wall event Breakfast Club. The crowds laughed and gasped in all the right places and cheered and clapped when the credits rolled, we count that as winning!
The second BMC TV film to premiere was The Bothy Project, a welcome breath of fresh wild air amongst all the adrenaline. Following four artists into the Scottish highlands to the remote Shenaval Bothy, action was put aside to draw a tale of finding inner inspiration amongst stunning vistas. The film was premiered inside Lowe Alpine’s #MAKEWINTERCOUNT bothy to a captivated audience.
If you'd like to watch Hard Rock or The Bothy Project, every BMC member will be emailed an exclusive invite to watch it online over Christmas. Make sure to keep an eye on your emails!
Breakfast Club with Niall Grimes was as much of a success as last year. Featuring short clips made just for the day, and a ton of other great movies, the crowd was well-entertained. Add in a load of freebies flung into the audience (sorry for any casualties of our terrible aim), and to round it all off a showing of our latest BMC TV film Hard Rock, all-comers left with a smile on their face.
It was pretty packed at our special Kendal press event too. The highlight of it was the official launching of the BMC Gallery of Mountaineering by Rab Carrington, where we aim to create an ultimate destination for all significant, historic images and illustrations. We also heard from BMC president Rehan Sidiqqui on what our plan for the future holds, and Rob Dyer, BMC access and conservation officer, gave us all the latest news concerning the countryside and more.
Back on the BMC stand, we signed up a load of new members and saw many more sporting the very latest fashion from our new clothing range, with designs from talented artists Tessa Lyons and Liam Dangerfield. If you didn’t see them, have a look now.
Magic moments and movies
Winner of the best climbing film and the people’s choice award, Blocheads was truly a delight to behold. Gorgeous graphics combined with a unique insight into the past and present of bouldering and backed up a wonderful storyline that showcased how the spirit of adventure – the same that entices mountaineers onto the world’s most challenging peaks – is alive and kicking in boulderers today.
Congrats to Alastair Lee for his well-deserved awards which are truly a testament to all the hard work he put into his project.
Simon McCartney’s book The Bond, detailing the story of two legendary climbs in Alaska, won the much-coveted and prestigious Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature.
Rock phenomenon Alex Megos was a star of KMF this year and popped up at a variety of events. His talk initially concentrated on his recent road trip in the US, but were soon the focal point as he recounted his experience climbing Lucid Dreaming 8C/V15 – his longest time ever spent on a project.
Alex also tested his remarkable strength on the Moon Board alongside legends Ben Moon and Neil Gresham and BMC ambassador Molly Thompson-Smith, making everything look as effortless as ever.
American filmmaker Cedar Wright wowed his crowd with a high-octane stream of consciousness at his event which culminated in a special showing of his latest film Fledglings.
Pete Whittaker, in a slightly more subdued British fashion, also drew the crowd with a recounting of his ground-breaking all-free rope-solo of El Capitan; which then shocked everyone when they finally understood what it meant.
Other highlights of our festival included Leo Houlding’s latest movie Mirror Wall, the behind-the-scenes look at BBC’s Planet Earth series, Andy Kirkpatrick’s talk, Bearly Alive from Greg Boswell and Nick Bullock, Becky Coles awesome expedition tales, and so many more.
Take your winter adventure skills to the next level with #MakeWinterCount.
These popular events are back to help you stride out into the winter hills and mountains with confidence. We will be running three events this year, with in person evenings in London on 29th November and Manchester on 30th November, and a virtual event on Zoom on 1st December.
This event is brilliant for anyone who wants to learn more about winter hill and mountain skills. You'll go from bumbling about to striding with confidence to the summit after you've gained all the knowledge from our experts Sam Leary and Mick Jones.
The evening will cover everything the new winter adventurer could possibly need including:
What to wear
Planning your day
Reading the weather
Packing a rucksack
Boots, crampons & axes